Commission for Countering Extremism publishes University of Birmingham paper on extremism

The paper is one of eight released by the Independent Commission for Countering Extremism

A peer-reviewed academic paper from the University of Birmingham has been included in a series of eight released by the Independent Commission for Countering Extremism today.

The paper, authored by Dr Katherine E. Brown - Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies, Professor Fiona de Londras - Chair of Global Legal Studies, and Jessica White, PhD candidate, explores the need to embed human rights into efforts to counter extremism.

Specifically, it explores how Countering Extremism (CE) programmes and policies have been criticised for infringing on human rights. The expanding remit of CE means that state and security agendas now infuse many more areas of ‘ordinary living’ than would previously been countenanced, with disproportionate impact on socio-economically disadvantaged parts of society.

Dr Katherine E. Brown said: “What we’ve found is that countering extremism efforts can be ineffective, and extremist beliefs regarding state excess and victimisation of populations can inadvertently be affirmed, extremist behaviours strengthened as the state loses trust as the provider of human security or wellbeing, and extremist modes of belonging and identity are normalised.”

“To help understand and address this, we propose the instigation of a rights-based approach to CE and of independent review of CE activities so that the effectiveness and outcomes (including negative societal impact) of these initiatives can be identified through systematic and robust independent processes.”

Lead Commissioner Sara Khan is holding the ‘most extensive national conversation’ on extremism as the Commission builds up to a report making recommendations for the Home Secretary. This paper forms part of that process, and the Commission will continue to publish evidence and analysis across the summer.

This builds on Dr Brown’s research into institutional and government attempts to prevent, counter and respond to violent political religious extremism to date, and the need to acknowledge the role of gender. Elsewhere she argues that the omission of gender has led to misdirected policies and programmes, violations of women’s rights, and gender-based violence. It also builds on Professor de Londras’ recent work on the importance of independent review for accountability in counter-terrorism, including countering extremism.

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Note to Editors:

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • More information on the Commission for Countering Extremism publishing eight academic papers on extremism is available here.